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Understanding Marine Transport: A Beginner's Guide

Are you planning to ship overseas? Marine transport shipping is an option worth considering, especially if you plan to ship heavy cargo. Aside from the convenience of shipping bulky cargo, marine shipping is also economical, efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly with a much lower carbon footprint than other forms of transportation. However, the process can be challenging, so if it's your first time, a lot can go wrong. You will need all the guidance to ensure it goes smoothly.

Here is an in-depth look into marine transport shipping and what you need to know about it. 

Shipping Contracts

Different types of shipping contracts exist in marine shipping. And it's imperative that you familiarise yourself with these contracts before shipping your cargo. Free On Board (FOB) agreements are some of the notable shipping contracts you will come across in marine transport shipping. With this agreement, you will have shared responsibility with the freight forwarder on the cargo delivery. Typically, the freight forwarder will handle packaging and labelling before your cargo is loaded. You will then take care of the rest once the shipment reaches your agreed location.

Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) is the other shipping contract worth knowing. Usually, the freight forwarder is responsible for the entire delivery process. You only need to cover the costs. Last, you may consider an Ex Works (EXW) contract if you need full control of the shipping. With this contract, you are responsible for all activities in the delivery process from pickup from the freight forwarder to delivery to your preferred destination. Each of these contracts has its pros and cons, so be keen to read through them carefully to select one that works best for you.


Marine freight shipping can be expensive. Therefore, it's crucial to develop a budget and stick to it. Generally, shipping overseas involves many costs. However, knowing some of the notable ones will help you budget properly. Standard costs and charges may include customs security surcharges, terminal handling charges, customs brokerage, accessorial charges, routing charges, insurance costs, container freight station or container yard service costs, and packaging costs, among others.

Container Certification

Container certification is one of the most critical factors to consider when shipping overseas. Generally, shipping containers have container safety convention plates. These plates are typically granted once the container successfully passes safety and quality inspections. And legally you cannot transport any shipping containers without the plates. Therefore, it's crucial to ensure that your shipping containers have one. Fortunately, professional logistics or maritime transportation companies can often help you check this.